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  • The Reluctant Dance Mom

The Perfect Bun

Updated: Apr 3

Simple braids and ponytails are a quick morning fix for the fine hair flyaways as we race to complete our early morning school day routine. But when dance performance day is on the horizon, you better learn how to create the perfect bun!

The first time I saw the phrase “Ballerina Bun” on our recital prep instructions, I had some very mild anxiety as I frantically Googled “Ballerina Bun”. After a lot of practice, I can now say I’m a confident Bun Builder! Here’s my tips and tricks to create the perfect Ballerina Bun.

Gather Your Supplies

You can’t get anywhere — especially if your daughter has thin or fine hair — without packing the necessary supplies. Here’s what’s in my cosmetics case:

Hair Brush with Stiff Bristles

Fine-tooth Comb

Hair Gel

Bobby Pins

Revlon Rubberized Double Grip Hair Clips (these are essential if your dancer has long and/or heavy hair)

I keep all of my daughter’s dance hair supplies in a cosmetics bag so that we never lose them! It’s great to throw this bag into my bigger dance bag so we always have extras if we need it.

Start Styling

The perfect Ballerina Bun should be at about a 45-degree angle from the top of your dancer’s ears. Don’t put it on top of her head or too low on the back, as it will risk falling out. Wet her hair, either with a spray bottle or wet a comb and work it through her locks. This gives the hair some grip and will be easily moldable.

If your dancer has long hair: Braid it first in a ponytail, then wrap it into a bun shape.

If your dancer has short hair: Simply style the bun, no braid or pony necessary.

Now that step one is completed, add a small dab of hair gel to your fingers, grab the hair with one hand and twist it around the base of the ponytail (or area where the pony should be), using your free hand to gather and tuck in any flyaways. If your dancer’s hair is thick, it should be relatively easy to shape it into a bun. If not, use your free hand to insert bobby pins as you wrap it up, to minimize the risk of all the hair falling out of place.

Once the hair is in the bun shape, continue sticking in bobby pins to anchor the style. Really, there’s no limit to the amount of bobby pins you can use!

Once you feel like the hair is stable, have your dancer shake her head and practice a few moves; observe if the hair shifts or if she feels like it’s not holding properly. If so, add more bobby pins! If not, you’re ready to move onto the next step.

The final step is to add more gel to tame down flyaways from the front and sides of her head. Use a fine-tooth comb to really get all those little hairs contained!

Sounds easy, right? It will be, once you get the hang of it! Utilize your dancer’s motto of “practice makes perfect” and be sure you know all the steps you need to take before the big recital day.


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